Mama’s helpers

Hydrangeas

Good morning, on this beautiful sunny Friday!

I have shared some thoughts and pictures about my Mom this week via various social media, as I always think about her even more during this week.  I didn’t want to be remiss in mentioning my “other mothers”.  Mom would want me to as well.

I’ll begin with my precious mother in law, who has supported me through thick and thin, defended me like I was her own and loved me with that “mama love” for over 20 years now.  She has been a blessing to me in more ways than I could count.  She loves her family fiercely and unconditionally.

I’m also grateful and blessed to have my aunts who are there for me whenever I need them and have taught me so much about life and love.  Their hugs, advice and enduring love have been available to me for as long as I can remember and I cherish them.

My former Pastor’s wife showered me with love and advised me with wisdom on many matters of the heart.  She will always be precious to me.

There have been others through the years; the friend’s mom, church family members, even a neighbor who just knew when I needed that “mama love”.  You know what I’m talking about; that hug, that little nugget of truth spoken into my life, the promise of prayers.  God has blessed me with many of these relationships.  He cares for His children and knows I have needed that in the years since Mom passed.

Thank you to God for sending them and thank you to all of these ladies.  Without you, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.

I love you dearly.

Be All There

Me, Ash and Ayda

This morning, daylight found me missing my girls and my granddaughter.  I was looking forward to the valentine card my granddaughter had put in the mail, which should reach me today and wishing I could hug her and shower her with kisses.

One thought led to another and I began to remember when mine were younger and how many times I was so busy with some pathetic task that was actually meaningless in the big scheme of things.  They would scoot up next to me, needing some love and affection and too often, I didn’t take full advantage of the opportunity.  I never ignored them, but I let a pat on the head with a promise for more attention later suffice when I should have stopped what I was doing and relished the moment.

The more I thought about it, the tears began to roll and I let them.  My husband came to find me and kiss me goodbye and noticed the tears.  I told him I missed the girls and that I was lamenting the hugs and kisses and undivided attention I didn’t always give.  He understood perfectly, and gave me a big hug.

It’s not that I didn’t love my children deeply; I just didn’t know then what I know now.  I was always busy cooking and cleaning and multi-tasking to make sure the household ran smoothly.  If I could go back and re-do things, they would be quite different.

I would throw that mop down and rush outside to catch butterflies or draw chalk figures on the concrete; the laundry could pile up, while we played dress up and the dinner dishes could sit and crust over while I sat with one in my lap, just because.

I share this because I’m older now and I know that it’s all too easy to rush through a day and neglect the most important things, which are not things at all, but people.

We aren’t promised tomorrow and if you have children, they are growing as you read this.  Before you know it, they will be adults and making their own way in the world.  You will have some type of regret because no parent is perfect, but you don’t have to have this one.   Give them the time and attention they need while they want it.  As they age, it isn’t always as treasured.  I am blessed with two loving daughters who think I’m the greatest (at least that’s what they tell me), but I know there were times I could have been “all there” and I let life get in the way.

Wish I was eating cake with you

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After all these years, I can still see you standing there.  You, in your blue jeans, with your unruly curls, your lipstick on, nails polished, smelling like Cinnabar.

It is hard for me to imagine that if you were still here, today you would be celebrating your 68th birthday.  Time stands still and I remember you forever at 49.

Time hadn’t etched many lines in your face and your eyes were clear and bright.  The hand that only ever got to feel Morgan, when she kicked in my 8 month pregnant belly, was steady and bore no signs of age spots.  Before sickness took it’s toll, you were energetic and vivacious!

I don’t question why anymore, as I trust God’s timing in all things, but oh, mother, how I still miss you!

My heart still aches with grief sometimes and yes, the tears still fall, but not nearly as often.  There are so many things I would love to be able to share with you and I can’t count the times I still desire your wise counsel and advice.

Until heaven, I must be content with memories, so I am eternally grateful and immensely blessed to have a million good ones with you.

Feeling highly favored to have called you mine,

Lisa

I am mom

Dearest Mother BIG tag

Dearest Mother BIG tag (Photo credit: AForestFrolic)

From the time you see that soft, wiggly, bawling baby, you fall in love.  You become a fierce protector.  You are mom.  This tiny gift from heaven rocks your world and melts your heart.

You vow she will always be safe in your arms, sheltered by your love, kept far away from all evil and danger.  She needs you.

She will be given every opportunity, receive plenty of praise and encouragement along with proper discipline and instruction.

As the years go marching by in this journey, you stumble, yes you even fall a time or two, but you do your best.  You learn quickly that this thing called parenting is no easy feat.  Your best isn’t perfect, but you never give up.  You defend, you teach, your love grows deeper.

She drives you crazy sometimes.  She reminds you of when you were that age.  She makes you want to tell your mom you’re sorry again.

She grows up overnight and it seems she doesn’t need you as much anymore.   Thankfully, she still calls and asks your advice.  She doesn’t always take it.  You probably drive her crazy sometimes.  You have dreams and goals and hopes for her.  She has different ones, but you will love her anyway.

Your love grows ever deeper and she returns that love.  She begins to realize that you often make sense and tells you so.  You watch her become more like you in many ways.  You become one of her closest confidantes.

She’s not perfect; she stumbles and yes, even falls sometimes, but she gets right back up. You are her biggest fan and you secretly hope she got that tenacity from you.

Your role as a parent never ends; it merely changes.  You continue to pray that as the years pass and you both continue to grow older, that you are always what she needs you to be.  You are mom.

This too (the chaos) shall pass

Morgan and a FL sunset

Morgan and a FL sunset

How did the time get away from me so quickly this morning?  My daily routine was all out of whack and it wasn’t even 8:00am yet.

As my daughter reminded me that we had to drop off her car before her hair appointment, the phone rang, adding a few minutes more delay.  Finally, I was in the car and on my way and then I saw him.  Our elderly neighbor was slowly making his way to the side of the road, waving his hands up and down holding what appeared to be a card.  I had to stop, even though I knew this would make me even later.

He had a card for the bride and groom, but expressed his apologies that he and his wife couldn’t attend the wedding.  He hung in my passenger-side window and began to remind me of how my children used to plant flowers with them.  As much as I knew I needed to go, I couldn’t.  This little bit of conversation and the card and well wishes to my daughter were important to him and appreciated by me.  He solicited a promise from me that I would remind my daughter of the times planting flowers and encourage her to teach her children to garden as well.  As I made my way to pick up my daughter, I remember thinking about how fortunate I’ve been to have great neighbors and friends.

Fast forward past long appointments, crazy traffic, and Costco crowds, and “the list”; the one that never seems to shorten and once again, the stress level seemed to reach it’s almost breaking point.  I just had to call my sister.  Just hearing her voice helped right away and she began to remind of a few things.

First she said, it’s all going to work out and then she provoked me to remember; these emotions aren’t just about the many “to dos”, or even about the chaos of preparing for a wedding.  More than anything, it’s the deep-down inside knowing that in a few days, my baby will be gone.  I’m holding that part in, to deal with it later, alone, after all the relatives and friends return to their everyday lives.

With that realization, we both gushed fresh tears, but they were cleansing ones.  They absolved my earlier guilt that said I couldn’t handle all of this planning and preparation without wanting to hide in my bedroom.  She left me with a heartfelt prayer and hung up to begin cooking dinner for her family and mine.  It’s the little things that mean so much.

I can’t even count the number of people who have called, emailed, messaged or sent word by a family member that they are there for me, if I need any help as “wedding day” looms closer.  Then there are the wise voices of counsel that comfort and provide that faith bolstering word when things get overwhelming.  And as for me, I’m smiling now as I write, although I still have tears.  They are happy tears though.  I’m so blessed with so many people who love me.

Falling into a new season

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“You’re gonna miss this, mom”, she says after I halfway scold her for one of her annoying habits of doing something to about 95% completion.   And I know that she is right.  That all too familiar constriction begins in my throat and I silently pray that I won’t be forced to speak any time soon.  My eyes are damp too, but she won’t notice that from the next room.  It’s not that I’m afraid to show my emotions; we’ve been a tangled mess of emotions over the past few weeks.

I’ve thought about it and written about, but now the time is here.  Our youngest will leap headlong from the nest this coming Saturday and when she gets up and brushes herself off, she will have a new last name and a new protector.

If time permits and the words flow, I will share it all in the coming days, the ups and downs, the panic and the quiet and all the other pre-wedding drama.

I’ve always said that fall is my favorite season and it is, but I find myself wondering if now it will also represent the time of year that I fell into the “empty nest”.

Cherish them!

The girls when they were young

The girls when they were young

I’m sitting here wrapped up in a blanket in July, in New Orleans, because my eldest keeps her house like a meat locker.  I’m not complaining though, because I couldn’t be happier at this moment, if only I could lose the sinus headache.

It’s funny to sit here and listen to my daughters arguing over how much salt to put in the mashed potatoes and whether they are better with skin off or on.

It seems like only yesterday their arguments were far more boisterous and trespasses were not as quickly forgiven.  There were days I thought I would explode if I heard, “Mom!” one more time.  Now, there are days when I actually miss it.

There is nothing better than having family together, listening to the chatter and the laughter, recalling old memories and creating new ones.

I wish everyone would realize how important family is and make it a priority.  Life is fleeting and there is nothing like the love of family.  Your children will grow up so fast and time will really begin to fly more quickly the older you get.  Enjoy them, love them, cherish their smiles and laughter and forgive hastily.  Don’t set yourself up for regrets.

Love and blessings!

Digging up Memories

Reaching upward drinking in the rain

Reaching upward drinking in the rain

There is nothing more therapeutic in my opinion than digging in the dark soil, until it’s trapped beneath my fingernails, or pulling out the weeds around a plant or in a bed.  These sneaky imposters, sporting defiant root systems and a plethora of seeds would like to spread themselves far and wide, but not while I’m on guard.

There is also something to be said for the feeling of accomplishment when you stand, back aching and neck burning from the sun’s much too ardent kiss; and admire your work.

The desire to dig in the dirt goes back at least four generations on my mother’s side.  Most of my memories of my great-grandmother Hall are in her yard as I relentlessly peppered her with questions about what each planted was named.  I loved to hear the names roll off of her lips; “Why that’s night blooming jasmine, honey”, or “this is a hydrangea or sweet viburnum”.  The names sounded exotic and romantic.

Granny’s yard displayed much beauty due to her diligent care.  I can only suppose that it was her love for gardening that sparked an interest in my grandmother.IMG_3378

Many times, if you visited either of them you would find them outside.  I don’t remember ever seeing either of them in anything but dresses.   They may have worn something else, but not that I ever remember.  Of course that was when the length of dresses kept their “neathies” (as my mom liked to call anything that should be covered by clothes) unexposed.

My mother shared their green thumb and quickly transformed any yard we had into a well landscaped display of her talent.  She recruited us as often as she could to help her and most of the time I was pretty compliant.

I inherited the love as well, but unfortunately not the knack or skill; I fear my thumb is sorely lacking in green.  Thankfully, I’m getting better with age, but my kill quota was pretty high there for a while.  Maybe one reason I love it so much is due to the memories that I made with each of them.  Take some time to dig up some good memories of your own and relish them!

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Easter morning reminiscing

Me and my mom's version of the Easter Bunny cake around 69'

Me and my mom’s version of the Easter Bunny cake around 69′

On Holidays, we always think about the ones we love who are no longer with us, and this Easter Sunday, is no exception for me. I think about my Mom, who died almost 17 ago, while I was pregnant with my youngest.

My mom loved holidays and to me, she was a combination of all the best in Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker and June Cleaver (for those of you too young to know who this is, google “Leave it to Beaver”).

She made all holidays special and I think Easter was one of her favorites. She made the “bunny cake”, and let us help sprinkle the coconut or place the whiskers. It wasn’t only pretty, but also tasty enough to make even Julia Childs stand up and take notice.

She dyed eggs with us, and let us hunt them until they were crushed, rotten or eaten. She was a bona fide pro, though and had fresh ones in the fridge. She laid out a delightful, delicious Easter dinner and usually invited family over to share.

Mom, Dee and I

Mom, Dee and I

Our outfits were adorable and immaculate and we changed out of them immediately after church. I sometimes think about her in church with us at ages 1, 2 and 3 (yes, we were little stair steps) and this makes me all the more in awe of her. We will be 45, 46, and 47, as soon as my brother catches up with the program, turning 45 on April 22nd.

She made sure we visited both sets of grandparents and she took pictures to document it all for days like this, when I’m reminiscing and want to remember their faces more clearly.

Most of all I am blessed, that mom taught us the true meaning of Easter; that is wasn’t all about colorful eggs and dressing up and bunnies, that the true message was in the Resurrection and the hope we all share because of it.

So today, on this beautiful Sunday morning, I am grateful for my Christian heritage. I’m picturing Mom in heaven this morning singing and praising with the angels, as this must be a joyful day there as well.

Blessings and Happy Easter!!!

The day I became a Nana

Stop and smell the flowers

Stop and smell the flowers

 

Yesterday I was mom, aunt, daughter

A friend, cousin and wife.

Today I became a Nana

I never could have guessed the way I would feel

You changed my life on February 28th, 2010

The day I became a Nana

Those other grandparents tried to warn me

They spoke of a new and different kind of love

About how hearts turn to mush

But I just didn’t get it

Until the day I became a Nana

 

Happy 3rd Birthday to my baby girl 🙂

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